Despite the many advances made in academic medicine in recent decades, successfully applying what is learned in research to patient care remains a major challenge. For example, it takes, on average, 17 years for research to reach clinical practice. And most evidence-based guidelines are adopted only about 25 percent of the time.
With the establishment of the new Dartmouth Center for Implementation Science (DCIS) at the Geisel School of Medicine, community partners across the Dartmouth enterprise will work to help close those gaps.
“Implementation science is an emerging area of multidisciplinary research that focuses on moving scientific evidence into routine practice,” explains Jeremiah Brown, PhD, a professor of epidemiology at Geisel and founding director of DCIS.
In addition to Brown, the DCIS leadership team includes co-directors Sarah Lord, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and biomedical data science, Kelly Aschbrenner, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and principal scientist at Dartmouth Health, and program manager Sherry Owens, PhD. Genevieve Shaefer ’26, the first Women In Science Project (WISP) intern for DCIS, will be working with the team on campus engagement and training.
“Implementation Science is a methodology that can benefit the public and private sectors alike. I look forward to pushing the boundaries of the field with novel research, techniques, inclusivity, and education,” says Owens.
Since being approved by the Dartmouth Academic Planning Council in late summer, the DCIS’s initial priorities have been centered around outreach and community engagement activities. “So far, we’ve held over 150 meetings and we’ve engaged about 200 unique community partners across the campuses and disciplines,” says Brown.
“I am very pleased to see this important new center get off the ground,” says Duane Compton, PhD, dean of Geisel. “It will serve as an academic home for faculty, staff, and students to develop expertise and independence in this burgeoning field and will help Dartmouth become a leader in implementation science nationally.”
The DCIS’s short-term deliverables have included engaging 1:1 with over 100 community partners, launching a website for the center as well as a survey to determine which types of events and activities people are most interested in participating in. Currently, the open survey has been completed by nearly 400 individuals across campus and has identified over 150 new contacts interested in connecting with the center.
Based on a strong community response, DCIS activities in the coming months will include workshops and training sessions (on topics such as fundamentals in implementation science), a speaker’s series, and networking and career development events and seminars.
“Implementation science can be used by any discipline focusing on improving human health and well-being through the delivery and sustainment of evidence-based services and practices,” says Aschbrenner. “I am excited to help build a home at DCIS for colleagues across Dartmouth who share an interest in this work.”
“One way that implementation science improves translation of science to practice is through focus on the needs of individuals, settings and systems in which practices are delivered,” Lord notes. “I am grateful to be part of this wonderful initiative to promote the accessibility of implementation science to our broad Dartmouth community of students and colleagues across disciplines and institutions.”
Longer term, the center will explore options for new standalone graduate programs in implementation science—with a target student population of early-to-mid career professionals who want to develop expertise in the discipline.
“Right now, there are very few comprehensive training programs available in the U.S.—most are offered as part of another master’s program,” explains Brown, noting that strong extramural funding exists at Geisel and Dartmouth Health and that the field has quickly become a top priority for major funding organizations such as the NIH, CDC, and PCORI (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute). Brown also chairs the NIH standing study section in implementation science, the Science of Implementation in Health and Healthcare (SIHH).
“We’re very excited to have an opportunity to address the growing need for formal training in implementation science and research and to really place Dartmouth on the map in the field.”
If you are interested in connecting with the Dartmouth Center for Implementation Science, please access a brief survey here to sign up for center activities, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. DCIS will be hosting an “Introduction to Implementation Science” presentation from 12-1 PM on Tuesday, April 11th RSVP Here.
On Monday, May 8th from 4-6 pm, DCIS will host its inaugural reception at the Hanover Inn Hayward Room, with speaker Dr. David Chambers, Deputy Director of Implementation Science with the National Cancer Center, National Institutes of Health. RSVP Here. A second session will be offered Tuesday, May 9th with Dr. Chambers to follow-up on any questions.
Founded in 1797, the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth strives to improve the lives of the communities it serves through excellence in learning, discovery, and healing. The Geisel School of Medicine is renowned for its leadership in medical education, healthcare policy and delivery science, biomedical research, global health, and in creating innovations that improve lives worldwide. As one of America’s leading medical schools, Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine is committed to training new generations of diverse leaders who will help solve our most vexing challenges in healthcare.